Dating back to medieval times, versions of za’atar spice blends can be found all throughout the Middle East. Traditionally dried in the sun and composed of a blend of sesame seeds, salt, thyme, oregano, marjoram and sumac, countless variations of za’atar exist based on region and family tradition. Since ancient times, people have attributed different health benefits to this spice blend, and there is something to it. Oregano contains antiviral and antibiotic properties, as does sumac, which also provides a free radical-fighting and anti-inflammatory effect. This recipe is a delicious way to highlight za’atar, pairing it with creamy calcium-rich feta, and antioxidant- and vitamin-rich carrots. Serve it with a green salad for a light lunch or alongside other proteins for a well-rounded meal. 


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pound carrots, trimmed of greens and ends, and cut in half or quartered length-wise depending on thickness
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar spice mix (see recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese 
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • Fresh chopped parsley, to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat the butter, olive oil and honey until everything is hot and bubbly. Add the trimmed carrots and stir to coat in the sauce. 
  3. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the carrots are barely knife-tender. 
  4. Pour the carrots and the sauce into a 9-inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle over the za’atar spice mix, as well as the feta, in an even layer. 
  5. Cut and trim your puff pastry to match the shape of the cake pan (don’t worry if you have to crimp together a few pieces to make a round, this won’t be seen once you invert the tatin). Place the puff pastry over the carrots, tucking in any edges.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the puff pastry is deeply browned throughout. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. 
  7. To serve, place a plate over the cake pan, and swiftly flip the pan to invert it onto the plate. Garnish with fresh parsley, if using, slice and enjoy!

Za’atar Spice Mix 

This makes more than you’ll need for this recipe—use the extra sprinkled over hummus or mixed into a marinade, with olive oil to dip bread, or in a yogurt dip.


  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds 
  • ¼ cup ground sumac
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt


  1. In a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, roughly grind the sesame seeds.
  2. Mix in the remaining spices and salt by hand. Store in a sealed jar for several months.

About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website:

1 Comment

  1. I love trying out new recipes, and this Za’atar and Feta Carrot Tarte Tatin sounds delicious! The blend of spices in the Za’atar mix sounds intriguing, and I’m excited to give it a go. Plus, the combination of sweet carrots, tangy feta, and flaky puff pastry is sure to be a winner.

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